I enjoyed a fabulous playhouse built by my dad as a kid. I think it was as big as some of the tiny houses featured here. It had a porch and interior. I know my dad spent a lot of time and money building it.
They come in all shapes and sizes (as you’ll see below). In fact, I’m astonished at how aesthetically pleasing and beautiful some these small living spaces are – so much so we include it in our popular beautiful houses article.
Imagine living mortgage free… well it’s a lot easier with a small prefab home or tiny home compared to the cost and maintenance of a traditional home.
Yes, the reduced space no doubt takes some getting used to, but if you manage that, you just might join the ranks of many people who have taken the plunge.
Oh yeah, tiny houses (modular, portable, floating, prefab or custom built) make for terrific vacation homes and outbuildings on your property (studio, office, etc.). That may be the step you want to take first to see if tiny home living is right for you.
In the meantime, enjoy our extensive photo gallery of some really cool tiny homes.
- We’ve Mocked Tiny Houses, But We Should Mock Restrictive Zoning That Killed Starter Homes
- Types of Houses
- Treehouse Alternatives
- Houses Built on Stilts
What is the definition of a tiny house? How small is it?
There seems to be widespread agreement that a tiny house is 400 sq. ft. or smaller.
Houses that are 400 sq. ft. to 1,000 sq. ft. are considered small houses.
And then there’s a more subjective definition that a tiny house is a home design that provides the space you absolutely need and not one square inch more.
A. Tiny House Exterior and Interior Ideas
When people start their search for tiny house ideas, they focus on the exterior. However, it doesn’t take long until they want to also assess tiny house interior ideas as well. For this reason, we split up our ideas section into tiny house exterior photos and tiny house interior photos.
Interiors (by room)
- Tiny house kitchen ideas
- Tiny house bathroom ideas
- Tiny house living room furniture ideas
- Tiny house bedroom loft ideas
Exteriors and Interiors
1. Tiny House On Wheels with a Deck and a Loft
2. Tiny Cabin in the Woods
3. Tiny Portable House
4. Contemporary Style Tiny House
5. Tiny Home with Covered Porch
6. Double-Loft Tiny House
7. Transformer-Like Uber Efficient and Beautiful Tiny House
8. Tiny Container House with an Amazing Kitchen
Designed by Minimalist Homes, a Michigan-based company.
9. Tiny Living House by Tiny Home Builders
Tiny Home Builders was started by Dan Louche in 2009 when he built the first model for his mother. He’d discovered the tiny house movement found it to be a perfect solution.
Tiny Home Builders is located in DeLand Florida, where they design and build tiny houses on trailers. The flexibility this grants homeowners allows them to move to any location of their choice, when and where they please.
The homes are designed with either every standard home amenity or can be equipped in a more Spartan manner, to be used for office or studio work. The company also offers guides, consulting, and plans for those looking to build their own tiny home. You can reach them at TinyHomeBuilders.com.
Here is an all natural wood tiny home in the woods.
This is an identical tiny home, situated in a more traditional yard setting. Black door and window surrounds add contrast to the exterior.
Interior of tiny home maximizes space, with small bathroom next to kitchenette. Light natural wood over dark hardwood flooring throughout.
Close up view of kitchen counter with built in cabinetry and cutting board, and full sink.
Counter opposite kitchen sink features space for compact dishwasher or oven.
Compact bathroom at end of home features standard amenities.
View of loft sleeping area above kitchenette, with small window and built in lighting.
10. Tinier Living House by Tiny Home Builders
Here is the “Tinier” home featuring an even shorter length and similar design.
Wide angle view of the loft space in the Tinier home.
Interior is replete with natural unpolished wood, with ladder over kitchenette leading to loft.
Kitchenette features compact refrigerator and microwave in built-in shelving, with bathroom in background.
Opposite kitchen view highlighting sink area with window.
Full view of interior of Tinier Home, highlighting desk space on left.
Exterior view showcasing outer storage doors and upper loft window.
11. Retirement Living House by Tiny Home Builders
This Tiny Home is painted beige with siding and white window surrounds. Full porch sits at front.
Full featured kitchen holds lengthy black countertop with sink under stained glass window cover, with appliances on left.
Bar style dining area sits across kitchenette. Bathroom in rear.
Full view of interior highlights dark wood flooring and bed area in rear.
Visit Tiny Home Builders here.
kitHAUS designs and crafts modern prefabricated modules made to transform your spaces into any type of room you desire. From home offices to guest rooms, creative spaces to vacation retreats, the KitHaus modules can become anything the customer needs.
The homes are engineered at their factory and transported to the build site of your choosing. Light weight, simple and direct construction means that the modules can be placed in tricky, hard to reach areas, and are stronger than any equivalent sized homes.
This KitHaus features two modules set on a shared patio space. Red furniture and white interiors cast bright contrast.
KitHaus seen in daylight, with white and red furniture contrasting with natural dark hardwood and floor to ceiling glass.
KitHaus interior flush with bright white furniture, black table and details like surfboard and life rings mounted on walls.
This module is configured as an office, with minimalist glass and metal desk, steel walls, and hardwood flooring extending to patio.
This module is designed for relaxation, with large red futon, wood and metal coffee table, and matching red furniture throughout
Here is the office module lit up at night, showcasing outdoor seating, and efficient use of space with shelving and easy chair inside.
Nautical themed KitHaus features extensive outdoor patio furniture in white and natural wood overhangs.
13. Contemporary Light-Filled Tiny Home
The above is called the Koko2 by ModernTinyLiving.com. It definitely qualifies as “tiny” given it’s only 256 square feet. The clever storage options are excellent throughout.
14. Tiny Project – Includes Small Bedroom Closet
Alek Lisefski designed and built the Tiny Project, an 8 feet by 20 feet tiny house on wheels. You can buy the plans for this tiny house here.
15. Tiny home with an unusually large kitchen
The above is the hOMe project, a 221 square feet tiny house on wheels by Andrew and Gabriella Morrison.
16. DIY Energy Efficient Tiny House
The above is a DIY tiny house. You can see all the step-by-step instructions at Instructables.
17. Tiny house that sleeps 6 people (has a bunk bed)
The above example is a series of tiny house photos (by Craig Williams) of a model built by TimberTech LLC and designed by Brian Crabb of Vivacollectiv.com.
It’s only 198 sq. ft. but accommodates up to 6 people with two lofts and a bunk bed. This also includes a cool slide out which provides a little more efficient space.
18. Tiny house with bicycle storage garage
The above clever tiny house design with plenty of storage including a bicycle storage garage was designed by Brian Crabb at Vivacollectiv.com.
19. Tiny house with upper and lower deck
20. Quaint tiny house with comfortable interior
See more of the above here. The above tiny house was designed and built by Summit Tiny Homes. I like the quaint and cozy design on the exterior as well as the extraordinary effort put into a comfortable and beautiful interior.
21. Tiny house with breakfast bar dining area and 2 loft bedrooms
See more of the above here. The above tiny house was designed and built by Summit Tiny Homes. This particular example is larger than average and includes a very stylish dining bar as well as 2 loft bedrooms.
22. Tiny house with pet loft and connector bridge between lofts
23. Tiny house with dining bench and table
I love the dining bench and the living room design in this tiny home.
24. Tiny house staircases
B. Types of Tiny Houses
What made tiny houses famous are the tiny houses on wheels. I guess the thought that they can be towed pretty much anywhere appeals to people. However, a tiny house doesn’t have to be portable to be a tiny house.
Here’s a list of the different types of tiny houses.
1. Tiny houses on wheels
The above is an example of what has arguably made tiny houses very popular – it’s on wheels and the interior design is ultra efficient. It can be towed to different locations so it’s a portable house. This particular design includes solar panels for power, a loft bedroom and it really is beautiful on the inside.
As you can see it includes a rear deck. The deck is attached with hinges so it can fold up when it’s towed.
2. Permanent tiny house
A permanent static tiny house is one that is built on the ground (doesn’t have wheels). It’s a permanent structure.
Above is an example of a permanent tiny house in the woods. It’s a modern triangle design, which is cool. It has a very small footprint, but offers all you need in a home.
See the inside of this cool treehouse here. Treehouses aren’t just for kids. Some people live in them. There are also tree house hotels. The above-featured example is a fairly small house in the trees. In fact, it’s a hotel, but as you’ll see inside, it could easily be a tiny home in the trees. It was designed by Rintala Eggertsson Architects.
4. Container house
5. Floating house
6. Tiny apartment
7. Tiny A-Frame House
The above tiny A-frame house is available for rent at Airbnb. It includes one bedroom and can accommodate 2 adults. The views from this beautiful little house are amazing.
8. Modern design tiny house
Above is the Saturn WeeHouse, another compact pre-made unit making excellent use of a small footprint. Architect: Alchemy Architects, Geoffery Warner
Interior features extensive natural wood tones on all surfaces, from floor to ceiling. Leather and metal furniture with glass tables make up living room space.
9. Modular prefab tiny house
The WeeHouse is a modular prefabricated housing system employed by Alchemy Architects to amplify and streamline the best aspects of traditional home design and building.
Crafting these sets in an indoor facility raises efficiency, accuracy, waste management, and a host of other aspects. The modular construction process is both frugal and environmentally friendly. Alchemy custom builds each weeHouse to the customer’s specific requirements and location.
Back view of the Arado house, showcasing its compact design and all glass side overlook. Architect: Alchemy Architects, Geoffery Warner
Sleeping quarters features small bunk bed over brushed aluminum dresser next to full bed with built-in storage below and above. Wood burning stove and chairs share the space.
Head on view of black heating stove, seated centrally against the back patio doors over hardwood flooring.
Kitchen side of the home features unique built-in asymmetrical black shelving with white glass box cupboards over aluminum cupboards and black countertop. Small dining table rests at center with blue chairs.
Floor plan of Arado House.
Tiny House Living FAQ
What are the benefits of living in a tiny house?
I suspect many people when they learn that there’s a movement to downsizing into a 400 sq. ft. or smaller tiny home, they wonder, how and why? The benefits of a tiny house answer the why. Here’s a list of reasons to live in such a small space.
You can buy a new tiny house for $50,000 to $100,000. At these prices, you get a fairly nice abode, and while that may seem a lot for such a small structure, it’s peanuts compared to a traditional house. When you buy a house for $70,000 you can pay it off fairly quickly (or pay cash) and live mortgage free.
Moreover, because many models are portable, you can put them on low-cost land in rural areas. Suppose you can buy a low-cost chunk of land for $20,000 and then pay $70,000 for the house, you’re all in for $90,000 which can be paid off with a low monthly payment or in cash.
Smaller houses use fewer resources in construction and while you live in them. It takes much less energy to light and heat a 400 sq. ft. space than a 2,500 sq. ft. home. You can also buy tiny houses that are self-sufficient relying on solar power so that you further reduce your ecological footprint.
If you want to retire but are not sure you can swing it financially, downsizing to a tiny house may enable a more comfortable retirement cash-wise. If you own a traditional house, you can sell it and pocket much of the proceeds. All-in-all, living in a tiny house costs less freeing up cash flow for a better retirement (more travel, less financial stress, etc.).
Maybe you want a vacation home, but don’t want to spend a fortune. Because I have kids, the most realistic reason I would buy a tiny house is to use it as a vacation house. Because we would use it for a couple months in the summer, we would spend the bulk of our time outside so a small house wouldn’t be an inconvenience.
Instead of building a guest space in your home, you could offer a very comfortable and private guest house on your property with a tiny house. I know if I were a guest at someone’s house, I’d be delighted to stay in a tiny house.
While they aren’t as easy to haul around as an RV, the models on wheels are portable which makes it possible to travel around and enjoy different parts of the country.
Psychological freedom from stuff
There’s a freedom to getting rid of stuff and having less stuff to take care of. We live in a consumer-oriented society where we buy tons and tons of stuff, much of it we don’t use. When you live in a tiny house, every purchase must be considered carefully because you really don’t have the space to store / use it.
How to sell your tiny house
As the tiny house industry takes off, there is now an established market for buying and selling used tiny houses. You can list them on various buy/sell websites such as:
- Tiny house marketplace: Tiny Home Builders website includes a marketplace where you can buy and sell tiny houses.
- Tiny House Listings: This is the Zillow of tiny houses where you can list for sale and buy tiny houses. They have a lot of listings to check out – it’s become the go-to marketplace for tiny homes.
- Tiny House Listings Canada: If you live in Canada, you can buy/sell tiny houses with this marketplace website.
- Kijiji: Kijiji is a monster buy/sell website your can list to sell and/or buy pretty much anything including tiny houses.
How to make money with your tiny house
I checked out some listings and they fetch $75 to $200+ per night, depending on the area. If you can earn $5,000 to $10,000 per year renting it, you could have it paid for in a few years. While you won’t get rich with one tiny house that you rent out, it can be a nice secondary income stream – or your paid-for future retirement house.
Who buys and lives in tiny houses?
The typical tiny house buyers are people in their 20’s and 30’s with no kids as well as people in their 50’s and 60’s (kids are gone). The homes are placed in more rural locations – it’s a way to get out of the rat race and live on a lower budget and in an environmentally-friendly manner.
Notice a trend? Typically, families (with kids at home) don’t live in tiny houses. Yes, some do, but not many. I have 2 sons and while I like the idea of living in a tiny home, I would never consider it with 2 young sons. However, I would consider it as a vacation home where we stay for a month or two each summer.
Do tiny houses have to be on wheels?
No, they don’t. The term “tiny houses” usually conjure up the wheel-design, but any house under 400 sq. ft. or thereabouts is a tiny house.
Tiny houses vs. RVs: Why don’t people use campers instead of tiny houses?
This is a good question because camper trailers and motorhomes are also highly efficient living spaces.
There are several reasons a tiny house is a better house than an RV camper. They are:
- More durable: Because tiny houses are built with solid wood, they are more durable and stronger for a permanent house. While they can be towed, they aren’t designed to be towed all the time like an RV trailer.
- Weatherproof: Tiny houses generally incorporate standard building practices and therefore they are usually more weatherproof than RV.
- Customization: When you order a custom house, you can customize the layout and features. This way you get a living space more to your liking.
- More energy efficient: Because they are built like a house, they are much more energy efficient than the lighter RV option.
- Hook up to services: Many tiny homes can be hooked up to local services such as sewer, water and electricity (where permitted).
- Looks more like a house: An RV on a lot sticks out while a tiny house can be situated and looks like a real house (just smaller).
- Retains value: Again, due to being built more like a house, they are more durable and therefore retain their value better than an RV, which is great when you sell it. RVs depreciate steeply and quickly. That said, there is a much bigger market for RVs than tiny houses so it may be much easier to sell an RV.
When are you better off with an RV camper?
If you plan to move around frequently, an RV trailer or motorhome is a better choice. They’re lighter and designed to travel long distances.